Create

7.0 Overall Score

Written by on February 11, 2011 in

In a time when so much in video games is about headshots and zombies,  publisher Electronic Arts  and developer Bright Light designed Create, a game to inspire creativity and test the player’s ability to use logic and, perhaps a bit of flair to solve a number of physics challenges. Fans of the board game “Mouse Trap” and those who love to dream up crazy Rube Goldberg inspired contraptions may find this game a dream-come-true. The premise is very simple but the possibilities are potentially limitless. The player starts out playing a few tutorial puzzles or, as the developers prefer to name them, ‘challenges’ to introduce some of the tools they will need to solve the challenges and the four different types of challenges on each world. Why do the developers prefer the term ‘challenges’ to ‘puzzles’? They want to emphasize the fact that every challenge has more than one way to successfully complete. The player may start out trying to use the most straight-forward and, let’s face it, boring way to achieve the challenge’s goal… but why stop there? The player can earn more points and more potential glory for taking their creativity to the next level. To give a better idea of the types of challenges to expect in Create one might look to the 2 dimensional PC game series The Incredible Machine or iPod games like Crayon Physics. I would also equate the gameplay to a simplified version of the Little Big Planet creation levels without the “coop-etition” created with sackboys and girls battling it out for every last bubble.


Still unsure what to expect from this game? Let me explain further. This game brings these classic physics puzzle games into 3 dimensions. It is a family-style game that encourages creativity, imagination, and a dash of logic. The game is broken into fourteen different ‘worlds’ with ten different challenges per world. Each world has a theme such as a circus or an airport, or a lush forest. These themed worlds provide the backdrop to the challenges and also allow the player to express themselves creatively with all of the objects they win by solving the challenges. To gain access to each new world the player must successfully complete challenges to earn enough Create sparks to unlock them. As stated before, there are four different types of challenges. One type is called an ‘object challenge’. This challenge type presents the player with a small number of different objects that can be used to complete the goal. The goal for all the challenges is typically as simple as getting a goal object to a specific location in the world. There can be a variety of obstacles one must overcome to get that object successfully to the end point including things such as large gaps and height changes. I really enjoyed the way they had me set up the challenge in a sort of stop motion set design. I would place the objects in the desired starting positions. When I was ready to see if my solution was going well I could click on the ‘play’ button at the upper right hand corner of the screen to set the scene in motion. This mechanic allows a high degree of trial and error gameplay without fear of failure. If thing don’t work out the first, the fifth, the fiftieth time…. Don’t worry. Make a few changes and try again. There is no penalty for trying. This makes the game a winner for families and those gamers that love puzzles without consequences. You are rewarded for your achievements and encouraged to keep trying if youfall short of the goal. The player can get more points by reaching greater heights, literally. As the goal object is lifted higher you gain bonus points. Other ways to get more bonus points is to hit the objects placed in the world or if the player can make the goal object do tricks like flips. The second challenge type is called ‘pick-up party’. Here the player can choose to simply accomplish the goal or they can try to direct the object through several score multiplier gems and additional Create sparks that are place randomly around the challenge room. The third challenge type is the ‘contraption-o-matic’. These challenges are a study in minimalism. The player must use as few objects as possible to create something that solves the challenge. Here the player gets rewarded for each unused part. The last challenge type is called ‘score-tacular’. This type is extremely allows the player to use as many of the available objects as they want to create the ultimate solution.

Even after the player has completed all of the game’s single player challenges they can go online and look up new Community Challenges that are added all the time. Here the player can view the solutions that other folks have posted or dare to upload their own solution for the chance to make their way onto Create’s Wall of Fame.  An example of a recent challenge was to create a solution that would flip a motorbike 720 dregrees.  It’s a very open-ended challenge that allows your innermost creative demons to run wild.  I really enjoyed getting inspired by the creativity of others.

If you or your loved ones prefer to express themselves creatively they will shine in the Free Create mode of the game. Here you are encouraged to take each world’s blank canvas and complete Create Chains that ask the player to use a particular decoration or decorative tool to spruce up the world. You are also able to use all of the objects you have unlocked throughout the game. I was amazed how quickly I obtained a large variety of objects. My favorites were animals like panthers and bears that looked very cool guarding the gates to my circus world. Completing Create chains will earn you even more Create sparks. The Free Create mode does have a limit and when you are coming close to filling the world with too much beauty a budget bar will appear on the screen to warn you to slow down or remove some things to make room for your next explosion of creativity. Decorative objects include animals, vehicles, paint, textures, plants, stickers, and more.

As far as controls are concerned, you can use the traditional six axis controller or the move controller. I used the move controller the most and it felt fairly fluid. Twisting the controller rotated the object I was placing and I could push it back or pull it closer to me. I really enjoyed the way they allowed you to ‘paint’ flowers onto your world. It was a quick way to add a little flourish to a drab scene. I had the hardest time placing the stickers. The sensitive controls seemed to want to twist and turn those stickers in all sorts of ways and it was hard to get them to orient them just right so they would lay flat to place them on walls.

A frustration I had throughout the game was that the instructions seemed to block a good portion of the screen. Before I understood how to quickly look around the world it was hard to place items blindly in areas covered by the large dialog bubbles. I would have liked the option of closing them but was unable to find a way to do so.

These frustrations were fairly minor though and I found this game a relaxing alternative to all those competitive timed puzzle game that stress competition not creativity. It is a small game that encourages big ideas and I really liked the way it is presented. I found this game on Amazon under $35 and you may want to wait for another price reduction but the value is there. The online component adds even more free content and value. Overall I think this game could provide quite a bit of fun for those looking for a break from all the FPS mayhem and providing a chance to challenge themselves creatively.

A copy of Create was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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